Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Crucifixion of Jesus was no accident of history.

"This man, [Jesus] delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.  But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it." (Acts 2: 23 - 24).

Today is Monday in the Octave of Easter. Easter is the greatest feast in the Church liturgical calendar. Each of the first 8 days after Easter Sunday is a solemnity (high feast). 50 days from Easter to the Feast of Pentecost on June 9th are all feast days of Easter. If during the 40 days of Lent, you fasted, abstained or disciplined yourself in any way, then you can appreciate the 50 days of Easter feast. If you did nothing during Lent, then you acted as an unbeliever, and may not enjoy the change of Season. (Cf Psalm 1).

Our key Scripture today (Acts 2: 23 - 24) teaches us a very important truth. This is a truth that can fill you with knowledge and wisdom that you can use every day. I will use another strategic Scripture to convey the lesson:

"And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.  For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers." (Romans 8: 28 - 29 AMP).

Brothers and sisters, remember: Easter is not a one day celebration. It is a Season. That is why it is also called Eastertide. Enjoy the holy joyful Season.

"Alleluia, alleluia!
This day was made by the Lord:
we rejoice and are glad.
Alleluia!" (Psalm Psalm 117: 24).

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

I have risen. And now I am with you always.

"I have risen, and I am with you still, alleluia.
You have laid your hand upon me, alleluia." (Psalm 138: 18, 5 - 6).

Today is Easter Sunday! The Day of Easter joy. "This is the morning on which the Lord appeared to men who had begun to lose hope and opened their eyes to what the Scriptures foretold: that first He must die, and then He would rise and ascend into His Father's glorious presence."

On this day, Jesus conquered death and unlocked for us the path to everlasting life.

Happy Easter to you all.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

This is our Passover Feast.

“God raised up Jesus, freeing him from the pains of death” (Acts 2:24).

My brothers and sisters, we celebrate tonight the Great Easter Vigil. The Church allover the world will be trembling with excitement and joy when the great Easter Proclamation (Exsultet) rings out. I want to offer for our reflection some key truths from the Easter Proclamation:

#1 "This is our Passover feast, when Christ, the true lamb is slain, whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers."

#2 "What good would life have been to us if Christ had not come as our Redeemer?"

#3 "The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy; it casts out hatred, brings us peace and humbles earthly pride."

#4 "Therefore heavenly Father, in the joy of this night, receive our evening sacrifice of praise, your Church's offering."

#5 "May the Morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen."

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Good Friday of the Lord's Passion.

"But he was pierced for our sins,
crushed for our iniquity.
He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed." (Isaiah 52: 5).

We celebrate today GOOD FRIDAY of the Lord's Passion.

We adore You O Christ and worship You. Because of Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

One Savior: Jesus.
One means of salvation: Cross.
No Cross. No Salvation.

Did you experience greater clarity and understanding about the Cross? Or what it means in your life during Lent 2019?

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Christ was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.
But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all names.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (Philippians 2: 8 - 9).

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Holy Thursday, Memorial of the Institution of the Eucharist.

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes." (1 Corinthians 11: 25 - 26).

Until He comes.....

The Church celebrates today the memorial of the institution of the Eucharist, the Mass of the Lord's Supper. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "By celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles in the course of the Passover meal, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning. Jesus' passing over to his father by his death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of the kingdom." (CCC 1340).

"Grant, almighty God,
that, just as we are renewed
by the Supper of your Son in this present age,so we may enjoy his banquet for all eternity.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever." (Prayer after Communion).

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
I give you a new commandment:
love one another just as I have loved you, says the Lord.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (John 13: 34).

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Accept your cross.

"At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend of those in heaven and on the earth and under the earth,
for the Lord became obedient to death, death on a cross: therefore Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Cf. Philippians 2: 10, 8, 11).

It is the will of Abba Father that Jesus the Christ embrace the Cross for our salvation. The human race has One and Only One Savior: Jesus the Christ. There is Only One Means of salvation: The Cross. Make no mistake about it: The Cross is the Only Means of defeating and crushing evil in the world.

The power of the Cross is incalculable. Are you prepared to accept God's will in your life? This may be your greatest cross.
Accept your cross and obtain your crown. Accept your thorns and receive your triumphs.
Accept God’s plan for your life and be happy and enjoy the Christian revolution.

After Lent 2019, our greatest triumph should be:
"I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame." (Isaiah 50: 7). And to say:
"See, the Lord God is my help; who will declare me guilty?" (Isaiah 50: 9). Be firmly resolved to follow Jesus on the path of holiness.

Let us sprint with great confidence to the mercy and goodness of the Lord as we end Lent 2019.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

The Week of betrayal, denials and treachery.

"Do not leave me to the will of my foes, O Lord, for false witnesses rise up against me and they breathe out violence." (Cf Psalm 27: 12).

Tuesday in Holy Week 2019. Theme of betrayal, denials and treachery. Jesus is not a stranger to this experience. This became the experience of Peter and Paul and all the saints. It is the constant experience of the Church. If you are diligently following Christ, you will experience betrayal, denials and treachery.

"God did not spare his own Son,
but handed him over for us all." (Romans 8: 32).

God did not spare His own Son Jesus so that we shall have eternal life. God did not spare Peter, Paul, Popes, Mother St Teresa, Mother Angelica, Martin Luther King, etc.

We have one Savior: Jesus.
One means of salvation: Cross.

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Hail to you, our King!
Obedient to the Father, you were led to your crucifixion as a meek lamb is led to the slaughter.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (Gospel Acclamation).

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Give to the Poor what belongs to the Poor.

"You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me. [Jesus] ”  (John 12: 8).

We are now in Monday in Holy Week 2019. The Gospel is from the 12th chapter of St John where Judas, the keeper of the purse for the group of apostles opined:
 “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” (John 12: 5). Judas was scandalized that Mary wasted an expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus.

Not everyone that cries "the poor, the poor!" cares for the poor. There is a true love of the poor and a fake love of the poor. Judas is a type of a Christian who talks of the poor and does little or nothing for the poor.

Give to Caesar what is Cesar's.
Give to the Poor what belongs to the Poor.
Give to God what belongs to God.

"You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12: 8).

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Hail to you, our King! You alone have had compassion on our sins.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (Gospel Acclamation).

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat.

“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat,  but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22: 31 - 32).

Today is Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion. We remember Christ's Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem to accomplish His mission through the Cross.

Just as Satan was given permission to sift Job like wheat, Satan has again been given permission to sift you and me like wheat. Our most merciful Savior and Teacher has prayed for us and has given us a cheat sheet to pass this test.

“Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.” Jesus said. (Luke 22: 46).

Your cheat sheet from the Master is: STOP SLEEPING AND PRAY.
Jesus taught that Prayer is a vital necessity. While Jesus never taught that we WORK Always,  Jesus asks us to pray always. A Christian who does not pray will not experience miracles. His faith is dying. He cannot overcome temptations. He has a wide open door for Satan to tempt him in all sorts of ways.

Through the power of Prayer, Jesus is strengthened in His inner self and ready to embrace the will of His Father during His temptations.
"Father, if this chalice cannot pass without my drinking it, your will be done." (Matthew 26: 42).

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory! Christ was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all names.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (Philippians 2: 8 - 9).

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Friday, April 12, 2019

We come to faith by hearing the word of God and seeing His marvelous works.

"Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done [the raising of Lazarus] began to believe in him." (John 11: 45).

On Saturday in the 5th week of Lent 2019, we see that faith comes also from seeing or witnessing the wonderful works of God. Yesterday, we read:
"Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.”  And many there began to believe in him." (Cf John 10: 40 - 42).

So, how do we come to faith?
#1 By hearing and believing the testimony of credible witnesses. As above.
#2 By seeing or witnessing the wonderful works of God. Some people have come to faith by surviving terrible auto accident, health crisis, financial meltdown, etc. They become convinced that nothing short of divine intervention saved them. If you are open to the supernatural, you must have examples from your life or others of divine interventions.

We have about one week to the end of Lent 2019. Everyone who believes in Jesus has eternal life. Eternal life starts here and now. Do you experience the deep peace of the Kingdom? Are you an overcomer of the problems of life through your faith?

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son:
everyone who believes in him has eternal life.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (John 3: 16).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Is your faith growing?

"He [Jesus] went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.  Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.”  And many there began to believe in him." (John 10: 40 - 42).

On Friday in the 5th week of Lent 2019, our word today is: "And many there began to believe in him." (John 10: 42).
Is your faith growing? If you have been feeding on the word of God in this Lenten series, then the unqualified answer is Yes! For anything to grow, there is need of constant nurturing. That is why Jesus said that you cannot know the truth and the truth cannot make you free unless you persevere day after day in His word. Thank You Jesus for Your precious words this Lent. Thank You for strengthening our faith.

"Jesus bore our sins in his own body on the cross,so that dead to sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds we have been healed." (1 Peter 2: 24).

"Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Repent, says the Lord,
for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!" (Matthew 4: 17).

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Abba Father keeps all His promises.

"Here is my covenant with you: you are to become the father of a multitude of nations." (Genesis 17: 4).

On Thursday in the 5th week of Lent 2019, we choose a word of God that can set us free from anxiety and doubt. "The Lord remembers his covenant forever." God remembers all His promises to Abraham and fulfills every one of them. He remembers His promises to the Blessed Virgin Mary and fulfills every promise. Joshua reminded the people that God has not defaulted in a single promise He made to Israel. The Lord remembers all His promises to David and fulfills all.

Our God is a Father who keeps His promises. This truth which I know from Scripture and believe, sets me free from anxiety and doubt. Thank You Father, O Faithful God!

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life; you have the message of eternal life.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (John 6: 63, 68).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

You can enjoy unbelievable freedom by persevering in My word.

“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 31 - 32).

On Wednesday in the 5th week of Lent 2019, we hear in the Scripture above a message we can use at once. The Jewish crowd who heard Jesus wanted to know what He meant by being "set free." Set free from illness, poverty, prison, joblessness? We are happy they asked because Jesus used their question to instruct us on the true nature of freedom and the true freedom that sets us free from all types of harmful dependencies and slavery. Listen to Jesus:

"Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin." (John 8: 34). And therefore not free.
Jesus is saying that directly or indirectly sin is at the root of all the evil that torments man. Jesus came to deal with sin decisively through the Cross.

If the Son of God sets you free,  then you will truly be free. (Cf. John 8: 36).
How does Jesus set you free?
#1 Feed on His word every day.
#2 Feed on His Body.
#3 Completely trust in Jesus.

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Man does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (Matthew 4: 4).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, April 08, 2019

Moses interceded for the people and the Lord had mercy on them.

"We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him." (Numbers 21: 7 - 8).

When the people got frosty in their attitude on the way to the Promised Land, they took it out on God and Moses. The punishment was swift and deadly. Quickly repenting of their sin, they begged Moses to intercede for them. Moses interceded for them. Those of them who repented and became obedient were healed.

Prayer is a key component of most religious traditions. We have seen that throughout Sacred Scripture, Intercessory prayers are conditio sine qua non of a living faith. The prophets and priests owe their continued relevance to this necessity. Jesus Christ is our able High Priest who intercedes for us day and night at the Father's right hand. The Blessed Virgin Mary owes her exalted position in Heaven as Queen and Mother to her Intercessory prowess. A giant Prayer Warrior. Saints in Heaven pray for us all the time. Our Guardian Angels and the Archangels protect us and intercede for us.

Where is the Prayer of Intercession in your spirituality? Who do you intercede for and how much time do you devote to interceding for your loved ones who have passed into eternity? Remember the Four Last Things: Death and Judgment, Heaven and Hell. Many souls destined for Heaven will of necessity need purification. The Church calls this stage and process Purgatory.

"When I am lifted up from the earth,I will draw all to myself, says the Lord." (John 12: 32).

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower;whoever finds this seed will remain for ever.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (Gospel Acclamation).

"O God, who choose to show mercy not angerto those who hope in you,grant that your faithful may weep, as they should,for the evil they have done,and so merit the grace of your consolation.Through Christ our Lord." (Prayer Over the People).

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Sunday, April 07, 2019

Your word O Lord is the light of the world.

"I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8: 12).

On Monday in the 5th week of Lent 2019, we receive a great light from the Light of the world. What does Jesus mean when He claimed emphatically that He is the light of the world? Jesus means exactly what Sacred Scripture proclaims in Psalm 119: 105.
"Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." Jesus is the word. He is in the word and that word is light. The light of His word shines in many dark areas of the world: Abortion, atheism, materialism, pornography, cruelty to the poor, homeless and immigrants.

When you order your life with the word of God, your thought, word and action will be guided by the Holy Spirit of truth. You will have the light of life and see things as they are. REALITY. Consider this example:
Many people play a game of chance, lottery to win money and become rich. What if they know this truth?

"The child of God can fear no ill,
His chosen, dread no foe;
We leave our fate with thee, and wait Thy bidding when to go.
‘Tis not from chance our comfort springs, Thou art our trust, O King of kings."  (Lauds - Liturgy of the Hours).

The above exposition of 2 Corinthians 1: 3 shines the light on the truth that the comforts we enjoy in life comes directly from the Father of mercies and God of all comforts and not from Chance. Playing lottery, a game of chance or luck denies this truth. The player risks falling into the trap of the enemy, the father of lies.

The Church shines the light of Christ in the world. The Church is protected from error through the infallible ministry of the Holy Spirit.

"Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Now is the favourable time: this is the day of salvation.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!" (2 Corinthians 6: 2).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, April 06, 2019

I am doing a new thing in your life.

"Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the wilderness I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers." (Isaiah 43: 18 - 19).

On the 5th Sunday of Lent 2019, the Lord has great encouragement for those who believe they are spent force, have used up all their gifts and are quietly waiting to transition to the next world. The Lord says to you: Forget the past completely: all your accomplishments, the silver and gold medals, the long resumés. The Lord is about to begin a new thing in your life: the Next Step and the More.

Are you prepared for this? It all depends on your "... forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead." (Philippians 3: 13).

What if you think: "I am already too old!" The Lord says to you:
"He gives power to the faint,
abundant strength to the weak.
Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint." (Isaiah 40: 29 - 31).

Depend on faith and not on your intelligence.

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks – come back to me with all your heart, for I am all tenderness and compassion.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (Joel 2: 12 - 13).

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Friday, April 05, 2019

In my extremity, I cried to the Lord. He heard my cry.

"The waves of death rose about me; the pains of the netherworld surrounded me.In my anguish I called to the Lord,and from his holy temple he heard my voice."
(Cf. Psalm 18: 5, 7).

Our reflection today, Saturday in the 4th week of Lent 2019 is from Psalm 18 which is used in the Entrance Antiphon. Have you ever been overwhelmed by seemingly insurmountable problems? Let us face it, very few of us have gone through the experience of martyrdom. Christ tasted this during His Passion and Crucifixion.

The message of our Scripture today is the infallible power of prayer. Ask, seek and knock. You shall not ask, seek or knock in vain. Jesus Christ knew after His painful cry from the Cross that His Father would not abandon Him to the underworld. Psalm 22 which He quoted from the Cross ended in a triumphant note.
God provides all our necessities through His loving Providence. Quit doubting. Believe!

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Blessed are those who, with a noble and generous heart,take the word of God to themselvesand yield a harvest through their perseverance.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (Cf Luke 8: 15).

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Thursday, April 04, 2019

Is this your appointed time?

"They tried to arrest him, but his hour had not yet come." (Cf John 7: 30).

On the First Friday of April, in the 4th week of Lent 2019, we reflect on the Hour of Destiny. Jesus refers uncannily to His hour not yet come or His hour has come. What is this hour that Jesus talks about all the time? We know that the biblical concept of time is divided into Chronos from where we get chronology: years, months, weeks, hours, minutes, etc. Is this what Jesus means? Or does He allude to Kairos, which can be interpreted as the hour of grace. The Hour set by the Almighty Father for the execution or realization of certain plans.

God’s Kairos hour governs the major events in the life of Jesus. It also governs the major events in your life. Are you impatient that some prayers or expectations of yours have not been fulfilled? Are you in the appointed time? Nothing happens in God's government of the world before the appointed time.

"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens." (Ecclesiastes 3: 1).

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks –come back to me with all your heart, for I am all tenderness and compassion.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" ( Joel 2: 12 - 13).

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Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday.

April 05, 2019 First Friday in April.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 4th month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #4.

#4.  "They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death."

The key word in this promise to me is DEATH.  Do you find the subject of death troubling?

I consider Promise #4 a great Promise.  St Augustine says:  "If you pray well, you live well. If you live well, you die well. If you die well, all is well."  To die well therefore is what every human being must desire.  Most of the post Ascension apparitions of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary to mystics promise succor at the time of the last struggle of death to those who honor them in the manner they specified.  The Church declared St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin, patron saint of Happy Death.  I believe in the Resurrection of the dead and life everlasting. The thought of dying no longer scares me.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

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Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Moses interceded with God for the People.

"Let me alone, then, that my anger may burn against them to consume them." The Lord said to Moses. (Exodus 32: 10).

On Thursday of the 4th week of Lent 2019, we ask, what is Intercession? Intercession looms so high in the doctrine of salvation that few topics are more important. What is intercession? Intercession is beseeching God earnestly on behalf of someone in dire need of mercy.

In our Scripture today from Exodus 32, let us see what Moses did as intercessor on behalf of Israel when they apostasized by worshiping the golden calf.
"But Moses implored the Lord, his God, saying, “Why, O Lord, should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a strong hand?" (Exodus 32: 11).

Who else is intercessor in the Bible?
Abraham, Jacob, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah. Intercession is a key aspect of the job description of a prophet. It is also a key part of the ministry of the Aaronic priesthood and the Christian priesthood.
One of the principal titles of Jesus Christ is our Able and Eternal High Priest. Jesus Christ in Heaven is continually interceding for us besides the throne of grace and mercy of God. When we intercede for people, we do so through Jesus Christ and in His name. We do not ask God to remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but to remember the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. The Church intercedes for her children day and night through Jesus and in His name. What are the saints doing in Heaven now? Interceding for the Church and for the family and friends of the saints.

Prayer moves God.

"Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life; you have the message of eternal life.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!" (Cf. John 6 :63, 68).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

The Lord has not forsaken you.

“The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” Said Zion. (Isaiah 49: 14).

On Wednesday, in the 4th week of Lent 2019, we see the kindness and mercy of God in full display. The People broke the Covenant with God and suffered as a result. The suffering was at a breaking point. They must have muttered thus: "We are convinced now that God has utterly forsaken and forgotten us." How close have you been to despair? You pray for recovery from illness but no sign of healing. For the mending of a broken family but things get worse. For financial improvement but slide into bankruptcy. Or any one of the conditions that befalls man on earth.

If you or your loved ones is in any of the above situation, God has a special good news for you in His word today.

"Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you." (Isaiah 49: 15).

But in case you still have some doubts, "See, upon the palms of my hands I have engraved you." The Lord God assures you. (Isaiah 49: 16).

Now, the ball is in your court:
To believe or not to believe. It is a choice. If you believe, appropriate the Scripture, write it down, memorize it and repeat it until it is yours.

"The LORD is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down." (Psalm 145: 13 - 14).

The Lord is gracious and merciful. His mercies never fail.

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son: everyone who believes in him has eternal life.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (John 3: 16).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, April 01, 2019

Do you want to be well?

 “Do you want to be well?" (John 5: 6). You too. Do you want to be well? Jesus is asking you and me on Tuesday, in the 4th week of Lent 2019. Although this question was posed to the man who had been ill for 38 years, the deeper meaning of this Scripture applies to you and me on the health of our soul. There are grievous illnesses that are not of the body but are so consequential that they affect our eternal destiny. The healing of these assures us of immortality. Eternal Bliss! This is what the grace of Lent brings to us. Reconciliation and healing. We are less than 3 weeks to Holy Week. Have you taken advantage of the numerous and generous provisions for Sacramental Reconciliation? Why wait for the last minute since no one is assured of tomorrow. "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8: 36). "Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus! A pure heart create for me, O God, and give me again the joy of your help. Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (Psalm 50:12,14). SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Do not consult your fears and doubts but your hopes.

"The royal official said to him [Jesus], “Sir, come down before my child dies.”  Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left." (John 4: 49 - 50).

On Monday, in the 4th week of Lent 2019, we see two great expositions on Faith. In the above Scripture from John 4, Jesus said to the royal official whose son was close to death: Go home, "your son will live." He believes Jesus and went home and found his son recovered at the precise time of his encounter with Jesus.

In the first Reading from Isaiah 65, God promises through Isaiah:
"See, I am creating new heavens
 and a new earth; The former things shall not be remembered nor come to mind." (Isaiah 65: 17).
Do you recognize in this promise the same as the promise of the Kingdom of God, the constant obsession of Jesus during His public ministry? Can you come to believe that for you personally this could be a promise for the NEXT and the MORE in your life?

Faith is radical trust and confidence in the word of God; in His promises.
Without faith, you cannot enjoy the abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10.
How do you come by strong faith?
#1 Prayer: No prayer, no answer, no miracle.
#2 Feeding daily on the word of God. When you pray, you talk to God. When you read the word of God, God talks to you.
#3 When you overcome trials, fears, worries and doubts, you receive a bump in your faith. The beloved Pope St John XXIII leaves us a wise counsel below:

"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but what is still possible for you to do." (Pope St John XXIII).

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
My soul is waiting for the Lord,
I count on his word, because with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus! (Psalm 129: 5, 7).

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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Have mercy on me. I have sinned.

"Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger.  I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you." (Luke 15: 17 - 18).

On Sunday, the 4th week of Lent, we reflect on the model of conversion offered us in the story of the Prodigal Son. Conversion, metanoia is what Lent is all about. Not just a conversion from a life of sin, but conversion from a mediocre Christian to a Spirit-filled Christian, on fire to be an ambassador for Christ. This is possible for everyone because of the mercy of God who has promised that Lent is a favorable time for mercy and favors.

Let us reflect on the what the Church teaches about conversion:

"The process of conversion and repentance was described by Jesus in the parable of the prodigal son, the center of which is the merciful father: the fascination of illusory freedom, the abandonment of the father's house; the extreme misery in which the son finds himself after squandering his fortune; his deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed swine, and still worse, at wanting to feed on the husks the pigs ate; his reflection on all he has lost; his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father; the journey back; the father's generous welcome; the father's joy - all these are characteristic of the process of conversion. The beautiful robe, the ring, and the festive banquet are symbols of that new life - pure worthy, and joyful - of anyone who returns to God and to the bosom of his family, which is the Church. Only the heart of Christ who knows the depths of his Father's love could reveal to us the abyss of his mercy in so simple and beautiful a way."(CCC 1439).

Be who you are redeemed to be:
A new creation and ambassador for Jesus Christ. (Cf 2 Corinthians 5: 17 - 21).

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
I will leave this place and go to my father and say:
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.’
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (Luke 15: 18).

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Friday, March 29, 2019

Let us strive to know the mercy of God.

"The tax collector stood at a distance, beating his breast and saying: O God, be merciful to me, a sinner." (Luke 18: 13).

On Saturday in the 3rd week of Lent 2019, the Gospel is the Parable of the Tax Collector and the Pharisees. In this reflection, we want to dwell on Mercy as a key attribute of God.

In the first Reading from Hosea 6: 1 - 6, we hear this urgent cry:  "Let us know, let us strive to know the Lord; as certain as the dawn is his coming. He will come to us like the rain, like spring rain that waters the earth.” (Hosea 6: 3).

God reveals Himself as Mercy in the Bible. The word Mercy is used 273 times in the Bible (KJV version) and 13 times during the Mass. Hosea urges us to strive to know the Lord. If all that we know of God is that He is merciful, we are as good as any saint. Unfortunately, the observant Pharisee did not know this truth.

Never forget the ABC of Mercy:
Ask for mercy.
Be merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Harden not your hearts today,
but listen to the voice of the Lord.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (Psalm 94: 8).

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

You alone are God.

"Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord, for you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God." (Psalm  86: 8, 10).

Our key Scripture for Friday in the 3rd week of Lent is from the Entrance Antiphon. As we draw nearer to the great Solemnity of Easter Vigil and the renewal of our Baptismal Promises, you may call this Friday, "No to Idols Friday." After soul searching, we say to God: "You are the only God." Not money, not science, not technology, not health, not family, not power, lust or fame. "You alone are God." You are the Evergreen Cypress Tree. Because of You, we are alive and still faithful. (Cf Psalm 85: 10; Hosea 14: 8).

"The Lord our God is Lord alone!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." (Mark 12: 29 - 30).

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower; whoever finds this seed will remain for ever.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (Gospel Acclamation).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Has faithfulness disappeared from the Church?

"Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people: Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper." (Jeremiah 7: 23).

What does Abba Father say to Peter, James and John on the Mountain of Transfiguration?
"This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" (Cf Matthew 17:5, Mark 9: 7, Luke 9: 35). This message seems to be the running theme of Lent 2019. Today, Thursday in the 3rd week of Lent 2019, the Lord pleads with us and added some sweet carrots: "Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper." (Jeremiah 7: 23).

But sad enough, the people refused to listen. "Say to them: this is the nation that does not listen to the voice of the LORD, its God, or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech." (Jeremiah 7: 28).

What about you brother? What about you sister?
"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts." (Cf Psalm 95: 8).

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks – come back to me with all your heart, for I am all tenderness and compassion.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (Joel 2: 12 -13).

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Study the Law. Observe the Law. Teach the Law.

"But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 19).

On Wednesday in the 3rd week of Lent, we hear one dominant theme from the Mass Readings: Teach the Law [the word]. The message comes strongly from the first Reading from Deuteronomy 4 and Matthew 5. Below are the Scriptures:

#1 "Israel, hear the statutes and ordinances I am teaching you to observe." (Deuteronomy 4: 1).

#2 "See, I am teaching you the statutes and ordinances as the Lord, my God, has commanded me." (Deuteronomy 4: 5).

#3 However, be on your guard and be very careful not to forget the things your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children." (Deuteronomy 4: 9).

From the Gospel:

#4 "But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 19).

#5 "Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 19).

The Church is in dire need of teachers of the word of God: catechists and evangelists. Without teaching and knowledge, a people perishes. (Cf Hosea 4: 6).

Therefore,
Believe what you read.
Practice what you believe.
Teach what you practice.

"Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life; you have the message of eternal life.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!" (Cf. John 6: 63, 68).

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Monday, March 25, 2019

I forgave you everything because you begged Me.

"You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.  Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?" (Matthew 18: 32 - 33).

On Tuesday of the 3rd week of Lent, we have a practical lesson on mercy and forgiveness. Yesterday we learned that the Lord is kind and merciful. Today we see how God applied loving kindness and mercy to an unworthy steward who squandered his master's wealth and now could not repay a penny. "I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to." This wicked servant showed from his subsequent actions that he did not truly appreciate the magnimous forgiveness of his entire debt by his master.

Forgiveness is a key lesson in the plan of salvation. Hence Jesus taught "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." (Matthew 6: 12). What is your attitude to forgiveness? Do you forgive offences easily and at once no matter what? This is what the Lord Jesus did from the Cross. This is what He commands every follower of His to do. The way to keep this lesson always in mind is the ABC of Mercy:
Ask for mercy. [I forgave you because you begged me].
Be merciful. ["Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?"].
Completely trust Jesus for mercy. [The Lord is always kind and merciful].

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Blessed are those who, with a noble and generous heart, take the word of God to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (Luke 8: 15).

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

"Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38).

Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. A feast day in Lent: No fasting. No abstinence. What does the Annunciation of the Lord celebrate?
"The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates "the fullness of time", the time of the fulfillment of God's promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the "whole fullness of deity" would dwell "bodily". The divine response to her question, "How can this be, since I know not man?", was given by the power of the Spirit: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you." (CCC 484).

Mary heard the word of God from the Archangel Gabriel and believed what she heard. In the first Reading today, King Ahaz heard the word of God from the Prophet Isaiah (7: 10 - 14) and did not believe. Mary believed and became Mother of Christ and our exemplar in faith. Ahaz exhibited unbelief and became a nonentity in history.

Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved.

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
The Word became flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (John 1: 14).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Do you know that the Lord is kind and merciful?

"The Lord is kind and merciful." (Cf Psalm 103: 8).

On the 3rd Sunday of Lent 2019, we chant that the Lord is kind and merciful. Why do we need to remember this important truth? Because our love for God is in direct proportion to our awareness of God's love for us. In other words, the more you know of God's mercies and kindnesses to you, the more you love Him.

The Catechism teaches us that:
God made us to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him so that we can enjoy eternal life with Him forever.

It is therefore very important to remember all the time that the Lord is kind and merciful to you. When you want to remember key facts like doctor's appointment, birth days, court dates, interview dates etc, what do you do? You write it down and place the note where you can see it easily and often.

You do exactly the same with sacred facts like our key Scripture for today. Do you have important landmarks in your life? All those key events where you have experienced God's kindness and mercies. Scripture instructs us never to forget our landmarks. (Proverbs 22: 28). Now organize your landmarks into Timeline and “Write down the special dream [landmarks] on stone so that one may read it in a hurry." (Cf. Habakkuk 2: 2). Do this and you will never forget that the Lord is kind and merciful.

"Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Repent, says the Lord, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!" (Cf. Matthew 4: 17).

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Friday, March 22, 2019

The happy return of the prodigal.

"Coming to his senses he [the Prodigal] thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger." (Luke 15: 17).

We are served with the Parable of the Prodigal Son today, Saturday in the second week of Lent. The great lesson of this parable is the Father's unfailing love and mercy towards us. St Ignatius says that it is impossible to repent from sin unless we feel strongly that the Savior is standing by us and beckoning us to approach the throne of grace and mercy with confidence. When the prodigal felt this pull in his heart, he says:

"I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers." (Luke 15: 18 - 19).

We all want to be in the same place as the prodigal son at the end of Lent 2019.

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
I will leave this place and go to my father and say:
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.’
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (Cf. Luke 15: 18).

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Did God make a terrible mistake?

"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes"? (Matthew 21: 42).

On Friday in the second week of Lent, Jesus gave us the Parable of the Wicked Tenants and God's Terrible Mistake. In the story, the landlord (God) sent his servants to collect rent. The wicked tenants quickly assaulted and killed some of the messengers. The landlord sent more servants to collect the money due to him. Not surprisingly the wicked tenants did not waste time in killing all. The landlord who had no one else to send decided to send his only son and heir. "They will respect my son", he thought. Anybody following this drama would predict the outcome and call the decision foolish and terrible.

Listen to the Prophet Isaiah on God's ways:
"My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55: 8 - 9).

"God loved us, and sent his Son
as expiation for our sins." (1 John 4: 10).

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son: everyone who believes in him has eternal life.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (John  3:16). 

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings.

"Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings.... Blessed are those who trust in the Lord; the Lord will be their trust." (Jeremiah 17: 5, 7).

What is the word of God saying to us this Thursday of the second week of Lent? God is the primary cause of every good thing in life: health and medicine, family, money and possessions, job and social status. All the gold, silver and diamond belong to God. He provides food to all living things. Your future, destiny and security lie in His mighty hands.
How foolish it is to place your trust in mortal man who cannot save himself. Nobody gives that which has not says an old Roman proverb. 

In the Gospel of today, we see the rich man who did not see Lazarus day after day lying at his door tormented by hunger. The rich man trusted his wealth but unknown to him is the fact that his enjoyment is for a short season. Then one day, he died suddenly. Lazarus died too and the table was turned. Lazarus who trusted in God went to heaven. The rich man was gnashing his teeth in hell.

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory! Blessed are those who, with a noble and generous heart, take the word of God to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (Cf. Luke 8:15).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Your words are spirit and they are life.

"The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said "Come,” they said, “let us devise a plot against Jeremiah, for instruction will not perish from the priests, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets. Come, let us destroy him by his own tongue. Let us pay careful attention to his every word.” (Jeremiah 18: 18).

On Wednesday of the second week of Lent, I listened hard to the Beloved Son and heard the cry of the Prophet Jeremiah. A Prophet has nothing but words. The word of God. This is his merchandise. He must speak God's word to the people, season out of season. A Prophet must find his comfort and sustenance from the word of God.

Do you find in you a stirring of the gift of prophecy?
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16: 33), says the Lord.

"Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God! Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life; you have the message of eternal life.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!" (Cf. John 6 :63,68).

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Monday, March 18, 2019

Solemnity of St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her." (Matthew 1: 20).

Joseph listened to the word of God and believed what he heard and obeyed.

Today is the Solemnity of St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is a feast in Lent which means no fasting and abstinence on this day. Who is St Joseph?
"St Joseph is considered the second greatest saint, next to the Blessed Virgin Mary, because of his humility and the closeness he had to Jesus as his foster father. Scripture tells us that Joseph was just, pure, gentle, prudent and unfailingly obedient to the divine will." (Roman Missal).

St Joseph is widely known as patron saint of workers and of happy death.

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ.
They are happy who dwell in your house, O Lord, for ever singing your praise.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ." (Psalm 83: 5).

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Imitate your Father in being merciful.

"Be merciful, as your Father is merciful, says the Lord."  (Luke  6: 36).

Yesterday, at the Mountain of Transfiguration, we heard Abba Father say: “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” (Luke 9: 35).

Today, we listened to Jesus and heard Him say to us: "Be merciful, as your Father is merciful."  (Luke  6: 36).

God has many attributes: goodness, kindness, love, faithfulness, long-suffering or patience, almighty, all-knowing, etc.
The one attribute that is key to the heart of God is mercy. Jesus Christ is the Face of the mercy of God. Jesus Christ became man so that man already created in the image of God will become god.

What if we refuse to show mercy? Jesus says: "Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Luke 6: 38).

The ABC of Mercy can help us to practice mercy.
Ask for mercy.
Be merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower; whoever finds this seed will remain for ever.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (Gospel Acclamation).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Abba Father, I listened to Your Son.

“This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” (Luke 9: 35).

On the Second Sunday of Lent, the Gospel is the Transfiguration of the Lord by St Luke. For me, the most important message is the command of the Father: Listen to my Son Jesus. With this in mind, I combed the Scripture Readings in today's Liturgy to hear what Jesus, the Word of God says to me. I share below what I hear:

#1 "Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”

And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith." (Genesis 15: 5 - 6).

#2 "I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD." (Psalm 27: 13 - 14).

#3 "But our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself." (Philippians 3: 20 - 21).

Abba Father commanded us to listen to His beloved Son Jesus. I listened and heard three messages that will make me happy today and for a long time. How about you? What do you hear?

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
From the bright cloud the Father’s voice was heard: ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (Matthew 17: 5).

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Be merciful and you shall receive mercy.

"Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect, says the Lord." (Matthew  5: 48).

Saturday, the first week of Lent, there is so much wisdom from the word of God to spur us on our Lenten Journey.

"Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5: 44). Jesus set an unforgettable example with this commandment when still hanging from the cross, He forgave all those who nailed Him to the cross and left Him to die slowly. How do you feel when you demand that your enemies must show remorse and repentance before you forgive them?

"Jesus surrendered himself to death, letting himself be taken for a sinner.* He bore the faults of many while praying for sinners.
℣. Jesus said, Father, forgive them: they do not know what they are doing.* He bore the faults of many while praying for sinners." (Office of Readings).

Do not say: Jesus can do this because He is God. Stephen, the first martyr did exactly the same. So did every martyr down the centuries. They all forgave those who were executing them.

Nobody can claim that forgiving serious crimes or malicious fraud is easy. But try praying for the offenders and you will be surprised that you too can forgive. Jesus made forgiveness of your enemies the condition not only for your own forgiveness but for receiving special favors from God.
Remember the ABC of Mercy:
Ask for mercy.
Be merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus! Blessed are those who,
with a noble and generous heart,
take the word of God to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance. Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (Cf. Luke 8:15).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Set me free from my sins, O Lord.

"Set me free from my distress, O Lord. See my lowliness and suffering, and take away all my sins." (Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Ps 24: 17-18).

Friday in the first week of Lent: The dominant theme of today's Readings is Sin and Reconciliation.

"But if the wicked turn from the wickedness they did and do what is right and just, they save their lives;  since they turned away from all the sins they committed, they shall live; they shall not die." (Ezekiel 18: 27 - 28).

We remember the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The younger son turned from his wicked life style and returned home.
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.” (Luke 15: 18).

What did the other son, the "just son" do?
"He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.  But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf." (Luke 15: 29 - 30).

The first born and "just son" has turned away from righteousness to think evil in his heart.
"When righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things, they will die for it. Yes, they will die because of their sinful deeds." (Ezekiel 18: 26 NLT).

"As I live, says the Lord, I do not desire the death of the sinner,
but rather that he turn back and live." (Ezekiel 33: 11).

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory! Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and that the Lord God of hosts may really be with you. Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (Cf Amos 5:14).

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

On the day I called, You answered me Lord.

"On the day I called, you answered me O Lord." (Psalm 138: 3).

You may call the theme of the Scriptures today, Thursday, first week of Lent "Ask and Receive Thursday." Thank You Jesus for the word You give us today to encourage us to be steadfast in prayer and assure us that Abba Father answers every prayer. We believe that You are faithful to every single promise You make.

In the first Reading from the Book of Esther, we learn from Queen Esther the practice of prayer: a perfect formula for effective prayer:
#1 Condition for prayer.
#2 Posture of prayer.
#3 Duration of prayer.
#4 Words of prayer.
#5 Importance of prayer partnership.

"Everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7: 8).

Jesus teaches us in Matthew 7: 7 - 8 that God's promise on prayer is infallible. What impresses me very much about Matthew 7: 7 - 8 is that from the very beginning of Christianity many saints appeal to this promise in their battle of prayer. You can do the same.

"Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God! A pure heart create for me, O God, and give me again the joy of your help. Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!" (Psalm 50:12,14).

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Ninevites heard the Prophet Jonah and believed the word of God.

"The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time:  Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you." (Jonah 3: 1 - 2).

On Wednesday in the first week of Lent, we ask: What can we learn from the story of Jonah?

“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be overthrown,”  the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth." (Jonah 3: 4 - 5).

The people of Nineveh heard the word of God from the Prophet Jonah that their city will be destroyed in forty days and they believed the word of God. This is classic definition of faith. Faith is to believe that the word of God is true. Faith comes from hearing the word of God. But the Ninevites did more than believe.  "They proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth."

"When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out." (Jonah 3: 10).

One week since the beginning of Lent 2019, are you hearing any word from God? Are you believing anything you hear? Is what you believe producing works of righteousness?

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks – come back to me with all your heart, for I am all tenderness and compassion.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (Joel 2: 12 - 13).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, March 11, 2019

Jesus, thank You for giving us the Lord's Prayer.

"Your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6: 8).
He also knows when you need it.

Tuesday of the first week of Lent, our Lord and Teacher gives us the gift of this wonderful prayer, the Lord’s Prayer or Our Father. In Matthew 6: 8 above, we have one of the most comforting Scripture, the most unforgettable promise in the entire Bible. Thank You Jesus.

What will you do if you ask your dad for a special gift and you are aware of these facts:
#1 He is willing.
#2 He is able.
#3 He has the means to satisfy every desire of your heart.
#4 He is your father.

Awareness of the above facts changes the dynamics of the interaction with your father. You are confident, expectant and bold. Right? Jesus wants you to feel exactly this way when you approach Abba Father for anything.

Lent is the spring time of harvesting the crème de la crème of the Sacred Word. Do not fail to read and appropriate these promises during Lent 2019.

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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Fix your eyes on God till He shows you mercy.

"Like the eyes of slaves on the hand of their Lord's, so our eyes are on the Lord our God, till he show us his mercy. Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy." (Cf Psalm 123 : 2-3).

Monday in the first week of Lent 2019, our word for today is from the Entrance Antiphon. We are exhorted to fix our eyes on the Lord as the servant fixes his eyes on the hands of his master while he serves him at table.

At the beginning of Lent, we hear that this Season is the most favorable Season to obtain mercy and favors from God. We do so through expectant and persistent prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Do not say: "I have no sin. I do not need mercy." You do not want to call God a liar?

Remember the ABC of mercy:
Ask for mercy.
Be merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory! Now is the favourable time: this is the day of salvation.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" ( 2 Corinthians 6:2).

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Saturday, March 09, 2019

All this will be yours if you worship me.

"Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil." (Luke 4: 1- 2).

First Sunday in Lent, the Church presents us the Temptation of Jesus in the Desert. Nobody can go through life without multiple desert experiences. Jesus was severely tempted after 40 days of rigorous fasting. He was tempted to abandon the path His Father marked out for His mission for a grandiose scheme of the Devil.

The Devil took Jesus up and showed Him downtown of the city with the glistening skyscrapers and malls. "All this will be yours, if you worship me,” said the Devil. (Luke 4: 7).

Not a few people dream how to become millionaires. Scripture has many counsels for such temptations.

#1 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be." (Matthew 6: 19 - 21).

#2 "Keep your lives free from love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, 'I will never leave you, I will never abandon you'" (Hebrews 13:5).

#3 Man does not live on money alone.  Man is created to live on every word that comes from the mouth of God.  (Cf Matthew 4 : 4).

Jesus defeated Satan by quoting the Scriptures. Can we afford to do less? Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ, says St Jerome.

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Friday, March 08, 2019

How is your Sunday observance?

"If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, from following your own pursuits on my holy day; If you call the sabbath a delight, the Lord’s holy day glorious; If you glorify it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs— Then you shall delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." (Isaiah 58: 13 - 14)

The Sabbath observance brings blessings. How do I know? Go through Sacred Scripture and you will find scattered throughout its books blessings pronounced on the Sabbath and its observance. This starts from the Creation Account in the very beginning of Genesis. God rested on the 7th day after His work of creation and pronounced blessing on the 7th Day, the Sabbath.

Why do so many people not keep holy the Lord's Day? Unbelief or Ignorance? Lent is a good time to evaluate where you stand in keeping holy the Lord's Day.

"Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Harden not your hearts today,
but listen to the voice of the Lord.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!" (Cf Psalm 94 :8).

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Thursday, March 07, 2019

How is your fasting?

“Why do we fast, but you do not see it? Afflict ourselves, but you take no note?” (Isaiah 58: 3).

Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving are supposed to produce beneficial results for us. Right? These People of the Covenant perceived that they afflict themselves in vain. Instead of brooding in silence, they asked God why?

"See, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers. See, you fast only to quarrel and fight and to strike with a wicked fist!" (Isaiah 58: 3 - 4).

How is your fasting? Do you believe as you pray? Do you live as you believe? What do you know about the spiritual and corporal works of mercy?

Corporal Works of Mercy:
1. Feed the hungry
2. Give drink to the thirsty
3. Clothe the naked
4. Shelter the homeless
5. Visit the sick
6. Visit the imprisoned
7. Bury the dead

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and that the Lord God of hosts may really be with you.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!"  (Cf.Amos5:14).

"Show gracious favour, O Lord, we pray, to the works of penance we have begun, that we may have strength to accomplish with sincerity the bodily observances we undertake. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."

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Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Choose life and prosperity.

"Moses said to the people:
“Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom." (Deuteronomy 30: 15)..... If you obey the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I am giving you today.." (30: 16).....  I tell you today that you will certainly perish;" (30: 18)....
"I call heaven and earth today to witness against you." (30: 19).

Thursday after Ash Wednesday, there is an unmistakable note of urgency in the message from Deuteronomy, our first Reading for today. "Today", the key word is used 4 times in the message. Why? The answer may be in the Gospel for today:

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily [today] and follow me." (Luke 9: 23).
Then the Teacher asks:" What profit is there for one to gain the whole world [today] yet lose or forfeit himself?" (Luke 9: 25).

"Prompt our actions [today] with your inspiration, we pray, O Lord,
and further them with your constant help, that all we do may always begin from you and by you be brought to completion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever." (Collect, Thursday after Ash Wednesday).

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Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent 2019.

"Have mercy on us Lord, for we have sinned." (Cf Psalm 51).

"If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (1 John 1: 10).

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Season of Lent. Lent is the Season appointed for repentance and spiritual purification. Our God is kind and merciful. Let this truth encourage us to turn to the Lord without fear for our inward renewal.

Lent is the Journey of Faith to the supreme joy of Easter. If we die with Christ, we shall rise with Christ.

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Harden not your hearts today,
but listen to the voice of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (Cf. Psalm 94:8).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, March 04, 2019

What have you given up for Jesus lately?

"Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses.... with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come." (Mark 10: 29 - 30).

After reading this, I looked around to see what I have given up for Jesus? Pretty little it seems to me. What have I received from Jesus? Everything! How do I make right this in-equilibrium? The answer might be in the Book of Sirach, our first Reading today:

"Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means." (Sirach 35: 12).

The sacred writer goes on to remind us: "For he is a God who always repays and will give back to you sevenfold." (Sirach 35: 13).

From Jesus:
"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward." (Matthew 10: 42).

These are timely lessons for Lent 2019 which starts tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. The three pillars of Lent are: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.

"By works of charity one offers fine flour, and one who gives alms presents a sacrifice of praise." (Sirach 35: 3 - 4).

Do not forget brothers and sisters that God provides us everything we have including the offerings we bring to the Altar. Our Abba Father sees our gifts as signs of our desire to serve Him. He rewards for it.

Be generous this Lent 2019.

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Sunday, March 03, 2019

One essential thing you lack in life can ruin everything.

 “Teacher, all of these [commandments]. I have observed from my youth.” (Mark 10: 20).

The rich young man that Jesus encountered in today's Gospel is luckier than most of us. How many of us can boast that we have kept all the commandments from our earliest days? Yet he lacked one thing. In life, it may be the one essential thing you lack that can ruin your prospects on: health, family, financial prospects, job prospects, etc.

The rich young man lacked freedom and detachment from his wealth and it ruined his prospects of permanent employment with Jesus. Instead of Sacred Scripture recording his identity as "St Justus", it labeled him as "a rich young man."

Are you being smothered by your possessions? Has the clutter in your life become a source of constant headaches? We have good news for you. Lent 2019 starts in 2 days, March 6th. Lent is the best Season in the year to tackle our major headaches and win the battle.

"Jesus Christ was rich,
but he became poor for your sake,
to make you rich out of his poverty." (2 Corinthians 8: 9).

Thanksgiving and Praise will bring you to victory in your struggle against evil.
"I will sing to the Lord who has been bountiful with me, sing psalms to the name of the Lord Most High." (Cf. Psalm 12: 6).

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Saturday, March 02, 2019

The Path to Freedom and Victory.

"The Lord became my protector.
He brought me out to a place of freedom; he saved me because he delighted in me." (Entrance Antiphon: 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Last Sunday before Lent 2019).

How did the Lord brought me to a place of freedom? 4 unforgettable steps that constitute my path to freedom /victory:
#1 Knowledge of His grace.
#2 Knowledge of mercy
#3 Prayer as a vital resource.
#4 Abandonment to Divine Providence. You may call this: Sweet Surrender.

The Lord's grace and mercy cover the 7 areas of His promises which are always available to you and me:
Pardon, Peace, Power, Purpose, Presence, Protection and Provision.

I believe in Prayer.
I believe in the word of God.
I believe in miracle.
I leave the rest to God.(Abandonment to Divine Providence).

Lent 2019 starts on Wednesday, March 6th with Ash Wednesday. Make Lent 2019 your best. Could be your last.

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